Do you Fink ‘everyone does tax avoidance’?

LEP Columnist Barry Freeman
LEP Columnist Barry Freeman
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As open goals go the one laid on for Ed Miliband last Thursday would need two left club feet to miss.

You might say it was served up on a silver platter, were it not for the fact this gift came on pure gold and was plonked before the Labour leader by a liveried butler while a string quartet played a little tasteful dinner music in the corner.

Four little words. That’s all we need remember of Conservative peer Lord Fink. Four little words that lay bare an elite attitude, a way of thinking, which should alarm every British citizen.

“Everyone does tax avoidance.”

An incredible statement from a hedge fund multi-millionaire who, we learned this week, ploughed cash into a series of Swiss trusts for his children – “vanilla” tax planning as he now famously described it – so they would “have something to help them make their way in the world”.

Because the world is a tough place for the children of a man with an estimated net worth of £180m+.

A staggering statement from a legislator, especially one who never faced a ballot box. A man, by the by, who, as it became clear coalition was Cameron’s only route into No 10 said it felt “unsatisfactory”.

“Because the outcome is not being decided by the electorate.”

Pot. Kettle. Black as pitch.

Made a life peer in 2011, since then Fink has toed the government line at every time of asking, scores of decisions covering every single aspect of your life and that of the community you inhabit.

But a catastrophic statement, a broadside torpedo below the water line, surely, for the Conservatives.

“Everyone does tax avoidance.”

Says the twice former Treasurer of the Conservative Party.

“Everyone does tax avoidance.”

Says one of the top 20 donors to the Conservative Party.

“Everyone does tax avoidance.”

Really? How do you do yours? Have you swung it with the PAYE people to channel your top line via Luxembourg?

Maybe you set up a few trusts for the kids your last time in Geneva, so they’ve “something to help them make their way in the world”.

My sole hope is that your tax avoidance is of the “vanilla” variety.

Oh, and also that if you threaten to sue a politician who calls you out on it, and they then call you out on it again, forcing you to backtrack with hilarious haste, in public, that said politician should proceed to hold you up, from now until May 7, as the true face of Tory Britain.